Return to the world of the Liveships Traders and journey along the Rain Wild River in the second instalment of high adventure from the author of the internationally acclaimed Farseer trilogy. The dragon keepers and the fledgling dragons are forging a passage up the treacherous Rain Wild River. They are in search of the mythical Elderling city of Kelsingra, and are accompanied by the liveship Tarman, its captain, Leftrin, and a group of hunters who must search the forests for game with which to keep the dragons fed. With them are Alise, who has escaped her cold marriage to the cruel libertine Hest Finbok in order to continue her study of dragons, and Hest's amanuensis, Bingtown dandy, Sedric. Rivalries and romances are already threatening to disrupt the band of explorers: but external forces may prove to be even more dangerous. Chalcedean merchants are keen to lay hands on dragon blood and organs to turn them to medicines and profit. Their traitor has infiltrated the expeditionand will stop at nothing to obtain the coveted body parts. And then there are the Rain Wilds themselves: mysterious, unstable and ever perilous, its mighty river running with acid, its jungle impenetrable and its waterways uncharted. Will the expedition reach their destination unscathed? Does the city of Kelsingra even exist? Only one thing is certain: the journey will leave none of the dragons nor their human companions unchanged by the experience.
Robin Hobb used to be a name of quality, of a guarantee for a great read but above all an author of vision. Her latest releases however seem to have fallen sadly short of what I, as a long time reader, has come to expect. Whilst her usual style is present, this title really will only sell purely because of the authors name as the characters are pretty two dimensional, the dialogue pretty patchy but above all there is no real threat to help keep the plot alive. Its not only flat-lined but been buried for a couple of weeks by the end of the novel. Add to the mix that this is the second novel in the trilogy (and for me Robin’s second books aren’t her strongest) and you really do get the feeling that there was a lot of stalling to keep the goods for the final part. Overall, you’ll find it on the best seller list purely because of her die hard army of fans but if you’ve yet to pick this up, either rent it from your local library or wait for the paperback. I suspect that this will not only lose her a number of fans but could also begin a serious downturn in her career. A shame as I really did used to love her work.